Business News Wales has interviewed Natasha Davies, an Entrepreneur Mindset Coach and founder of Because U can. She tells us all about her career history, plans for the future and lessons she has learned from.
Can you give our readers a little background into yourself and your role within Because U Can and Womenspire Leaders
I spent 16 years working within the mental health sector and started Because U Can because I wanted to help people more. I am a single parent with 2 boys so the entrepreneurial journey was a challenging but amazingly rewarding one. I started my journey coaching individuals and facilitating workshops for voluntary sector organisations. Then partnered with DWP and the digital volunteers to deliver 40 workshops to jobseekers. Since then I have delivered workshops to many organisations within the voluntary, private and public sector. Last year I decided I wanted to create something for other women budiness and corporate leaders, to create spaces where women leaders could come together, connect, collaborate and create, share knowledge and networks. I put 2 posts on facebook and received 170 contact requests from women from all around the world. From this initial idea Womenspire Leaders was born.
What are your plans for the next five years, and where do you see your challenges and opportunities?
I have already wrtten 3 books so would like to write more as I feel that is a way to serve more people and change the world one reader at a time. I would like to reach more people with workshops in partnership with organisations helping to change people's perspectives and mindsets to open up to more possibilities, most people tend to overthink things and get in their own way. I want Womenspire Leaders to go global and have groups across the globe. We hear a lot about women being at a disadvantage in this world but when they really show up there isn't much that gets in their way. We all have a lot of power within us that we don't step into mainly because of fear or we think we don't have any.
Looking back at your career, are there things you would have done differently?
I don't think so, I love learning so I think every step, every stage has added to where I am today. I used to want to get to places quicker but I now am totally at ease with the journey and enjoying that. It's not been easy but it's been totally worth it. People often avoid painful things, struggle, learning but it all creates growth and after a while you stop creating the difficulty and enjoy the ride
What do you think are the most important qualities for success in business?
I think that there are different mindsets as business owners grow through different stages but something that I have found extremely valuable is the ability to stop, let go and create space. It means that I've been able to step back and see the bigger picture and different perspectives. Then I can approach things again from a fresh perspective. A business is often like a baby for entrepreneurs but to be able to grow you have to let go. Life is bigger than business so it's important to live not just exist and it's easy to get on the hamster wheel. live in your joy and the rest takes care of itself.
What are your top three tips for success?
Ask, ask and ask again for what you want. Be direct and leave out the fluff or proving if your value
Don't think, just throw yourself into the task, you will learn and grow. People usually want to know all of the steps before taking action yet it really works the other way around. Take action and learn the process or steps on the way. You will also improve. It's how you master anything.
Take responsibility and accountability for your future. If you want something you can create it. I wanted to write my first book so I wrote 1000 words a day for 31 days no excuses I showed up. Focus on the end result and the work will happen. After 31 days I had a very nice book.
Are there any innovations within your sector that you believe should be adopted by the wider Welsh market?
I think letting go of limitation, understanding that none of us can predict the future and if we try we usually hold ourselves back.
Innovation is uncomfortable, people don't like change generally but being outside of comfort is where all of the amazing things happen. I think we would all do well being a little more experimental. Enrepreneurial people tend to like to operate in this way, creating change in the world.
Do you foresee any issues that Welsh business will be facing in the short/medium/long term?
I think any business in Wales can use innovation to stay ahead of changes. I came from the voluntary sector originally and this is a sector that has seen huge funding cuts in recent years. I think this sector needs to think more like businesses to survive and be sustainable for the future.
Other examples are many public houses have been adversely affected by things like the smoking ban, supermarkets, the rise of the internet and computers, Netflix, there have been so many changes in lots of sectors but those sectors stay the same. This is often a recipe for disaster.
I feel we need to move with the times, retain the old by all means but embrace the new or create something totally different. Often just getting out of our own way is enough to create change.
Womenspire Leaders is a group of action taking women Leaders.
In business you have to keep taking action, build momentum and things grow. A garden doesn't produce flowers if it's not watered and tended.
We need growth too to live rather than exist
Do you have any predictions in regards to the impact of Brexit on your sector?
I think there will always be challenges, and changes, the key is to keep moving and to be able to navigate them. I don't tend to focus on challenges but focus on what it is that I want to create. What we focus on expands.
The media also tends to be quite fear based around these things where I like to stay present, and to know that it's all speculation and opinions, there are always opportunities you just have to see them which is again about perspective.
I like to operate from a different place. One of possibility and curiosity rather than over thinking and fear.
What do you think Wales’ strengths and weaknesses are as a place to do business?
I think we have a lot of great businesses and entrepreneurs in Wales but I also think they could achieve much more. We need more collaboration to achieve joint goals. We need to help each other up more. That's what we do at Womenspire Leaders, connect, collaborate and create together. I think we need to think bigger. Working together on large projects would create big change. Sometimes things need a shake up. We can learn so much from each other but need to slow down and create opportunities to come together to do that.
What can Wales do to attract more inward investment?
I think we need to take a different perspective and be more courageous. Instead of attracting or waiting for business opportunities to come to Wales we need to move outside of comfort, go outside of Wales and ask for bigger opportunities, ones that are uncomfortable and a stretch but that Welsh Businesses can grow into, expand an feel accomplished
What skills should the education system be promoting to the next generation?
I don't think it's so much about skills as it is about promoting attitude and character traits. Determination, creativity, personal responsibility and that is important for mental health too. Innovation, moving beyond comfort
How important is it for there to be a close relationship between business and higher education in Wales?
As someone who experienced a lot of education then an entrepreneurial journey I think they provide 2 different things. Real life and business is an education in itself. I think more should be taught in schools and colleges about entrepreneurship, expanding the possibilities for students. However if your mind isn't open to learning then you can travel though both and not grow. So creating that open mind and awareness is step one. I think both education and business can sit well together. One thing that served me well though is that even after all of the education and the entrepreneurial journey is to always start from a place of ‘I know nothing' then there is always room for expansion and growth.